The only character I didn’t enjoy was Andy Serkis’ Alfred, who was barely in the movie. I was looking forward to seeing a more militant Alfred instead of the father figure we had seen many times before.
The man of vengeance returns
By Joseph Agosti, Contributor
The Batman simply rules and there’s no other way to put it. There has never been, in my opinion, a more comic-accurate portrayal of Batman put on film. From the dark gritty visuals to the awesome costume, the way Gotham is an absolute shithole instead of being the New York-Chicago hybrid we’ve seen before, The Batman simply gets the idea of what a Batman story should be.
In case you couldn’t tell, I enjoyed just about everything about this film. While it’s not quite at the level of 2008’s The Dark Knight, The Batman is a more than worthy successor to Christian Bale’s beloved Caped Crusader trilogy. The Dark Knight may be an overall better movie, but The Batman is a better, more accurate Batman movie.
To start, the cast is just great, with Robert Pattinson and Jeffrey Wright being the main standouts. Pattinson blends effortlessly into a younger, more inexperienced Bruce Wayne, and really taps into the brutal fighting nature seen in the Arkham video game series. I also loved how the character is much more of a recluse, instead of being a playboy socialite like Christian Bale’s Batman was; this version is much more realistic for a haunted, vengeful Batman. Jeffrey Wright is expertly cast as Lieutenant Jim Gordon, who is Batman’s closest ally throughout the movie. Wright brings a needed sense of humanity to the character, often being the voice of reason when Batman falls astray.
Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman is also worth mentioning as she uses her ample screen time well, and her dynamic with Pattinson’s Batman is fun to play out, especially during the espionage scenes early in the movie. The only character I didn’t enjoy was Andy Serkis’ Alfred, who was barely in the movie. I was looking forward to seeing a more militant Alfred instead of the father figure we had seen many times before.
The visuals, were simply stunning, with the fight choreography being leagues ahead of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, with expert wide shots and a lack of shaky cam which was much appreciated. The use of red in many of the shots was a worthy inclusion as the theme of vengeance hits home.
The villains are solid as well, but not perfect, as Paul Dano’s Riddler falls into the common “plan-is-too-complicated” trope. Which is too bad because he is such a menacing presence, and it was nice to see the Riddler not be treated as a joke for a change. Colin Farrell’s Penguin is fun, if underused, but the main standout was the excellent make-up job which rendered Colin Farrell completely unrecognizable.
While this film is excellent and a ton of fun, it’s not perfect. The runtime is very long, at two hours and 56 minutes, and there were times in the theatre I was wishing the film would hurry up. Like I said before, the character of Alfred is barely used until the end, where he serves as motivation for Batman after the Riddler wounds him. The ending is convoluted and ends abruptly as the shot cuts away for the final voiceover and montage; I was surprised as the building they were in was still flooding from Riddler’s weird-ass plan. I was also not thrilled with the Joker’s inclusion in the post-release deleted scene. We have now seen five live-action Jokers on film since Jack Nicholson debuted as the Crown Prince of Crime in 1989. It would be much better in my opinion if they used a villain unseen on the big screen, as Batman has such a great rogues gallery, and it would be a shame just to see the Joker reused again.
But altogether, I really had a blast watching The Batman. It was the realistic and gritty comic-book movie I had been craving, as the quippy Marvel formula had started to run stale for me. This film’s performances, action, cinematography and score are top-tier—especially Nirvana’s “Something in the Way,”which perfectly captures the movie’s grounded tone—and I absolutely recommend it and can’t wait to catch it again soon.